Windy City Times (Chicago) (10.12.11) - Monday, November 21,
A groundbreaking music video, whose main character is a young
black man grappling with HIV, has been viewed more than 9,000
times on YouTube.com since its September debut. The work grew
out of a public service announcement for Test Positive Aware
Network created by Chicago-based photographer John Gress. The
PSA promoted the outreach "A Day in the Life with HIV," which
asked Americans living with the virus to photograph themselves
on Sept. 21 and post the photos to a website.
After collecting hours of testimonials, Gress needed music and
called on a good friend, R&B singer Marshall Titus, for help.
Nothing really worked until they came across the track to "I
Will," a mellow but uplifting work Titus recorded not long
after losing his mother. Within days, Gress was piecing
together a story for the music video based on the interviews
Gress and Titus refined a script, hired local actors and 30
days later were finished with the five-minute music video. It
opens with a young black man waking up in bed after a one-
night stand. Apparently upset, the man later makes his way to
an HIV clinic where he learns he is positive. The video
follows his journey dealing with the news, revealing his
status to a roommate, a close friend, and a potential date.
The friends are supportive, and the potential date, whose
status is never revealed, still goes out with the man, telling
him "It's OK."
"We really just hope that through the video people will be
less fearful of people who are HIV-positive, and they'll also
be less fearful of getting tested, which is the important part
of stopping the epidemic," Gress said.